December 2021 - Cape Raoul

It's the Sydney to Hobart season again (hurrah!). Lyn and I decided to revisit our "inaugural" walk-a-month in 2010 and our 2017 return visit to Cape Raoul. With luck we would see some S2H contenders passing by the Cape. On a perfect summer's day, warm and clear, and keen to make up for some serious Xmas indulgences, Lyn, Di, Kat and Philip left town at 8am.

The obligatory coffee stop in Sorell was this year marked with worrisome CheckInTas signins and mask wearing. We stayed as briefly as possible and took our coffees to the car. We kept going, arriving at the Stormlea carpark at 9.45am, where Gary was waiting for us, making a congenial group of five today.

The carpark has been extended yet again, this time for the Three Capes tourism promotions. The landscaping is very nicely done, they have even provided footpaths! The new composting toilets are also clean and modern.
We were on the trail by 10am.
The first stretch was lively with birds, it would be a good spot for a bit of quiet birdwatching. We reached the turnoff to Cape Raoul or Shipstern Bluff at 10.30am. At the Cape Raoul lookout we were pleased to see one of the maxi's steaming south. Perhaps Whisper, which arrived at Constitution Dock at 3.51pm?? Kat's photo shows a helicopter taking a close look:
The trail down the hill and along the windswept headland has been sensitively upgraded - smoother, wider but not overly curated - to provide an easy walking surface and take the steepness out of the hillside path. You can now walk without having to watch your footing all the time, a great relief. A couple of duckboard stretches were well placed. The views were fabulous as always along the headland.
We noticed that the scrub had grown taller and now offered good protection from the winds over the largest part of the headland.
A totally unconcerned echidna was happily digging the side of the path.
The path around the Cape's little lake has been nicely improved with a snaking path along the clifftop and some duckboarding.

It was great to arrive at the tip of Cape Raoul and see four yachts in the water between us and Tasman Island. The S2H Yacht tracker was not quite up to date:
The maxi at the front, Stefan Racing, steamed right past us at 1pm.
It possibly overtook Whisper and arrived at Constitution Dock at 3.20pm, besting us by a long shot.

The big yacht not far behind it might have been Ichi Ban, which was followed by Celestial.
Down below us a Pennicott cruise boat came in to look at the seals. Then it was exciting to see Rob Pennicott himself arrive in this spot sheltered from the ocean swells in his big Freycinet Explorer. We saw them carefully load up a large camera onto the bow, and then set off towards the boats, no doubt to capture some great action shots.

As we headed off ourselves, we ran into an old friend from our Centrelink days, Tony Lawrie, another opportunity to catch up on some news. By 1.20pm we had seen the seals and were heading back along the headland.
As always, the conversation flowed as we walked, covering COVID at length (these are difficult and rapidly changing times), computer and phone problems, food adventures, news of old colleagues, Xmas events, and more. It was a comfort to share our concerns, knowledge and solutions as the kilometres slipped by. By 2.55pm we were back at the Cape Raoul lookout, taking a last breather.

Then it was back down the hill, and we got back to our starting point at 3.40pm. So the walk of about 17 km took us about 5 and three quarter hours, including a generous lunch stop and a couple of rests along the way. Due to the improvements to the track we escaped with very litte in the way of aches and strains. What a fabulous day.

Our walk:

November 2021 - Bicentennial Trail

Our earlier plans to tackle Mount Wedge floundered due to other commitments and a dawning realisation of the challenge involved in a one day outing to that distance and the climbing of that peak. Di suggested we climb Mt Nelson instead, a much more approachable ask.

On a beautiful Sunday morning, Di, Angie, Gerwyn and Wayne met at the top of Lambert Ave at 11am. Note: points to Angie and Di for riding there :)

It was a lovely walk up, and great to catch up on everybody's news. We were interested (or something) to find that we took longer to walk up than on previous walks - it used to take us 60 minutes, today it took us 75 minutes. Can't think why.

Anyhow, we reached the Signal Station Cafe and were ushered to the best table in the house, right on the corner, with terrific views over the Derwent, Lauderdale and round to Oppossum Bay. The menu was good, with lots to decide from, the service was good, and the meals were generous and yummy.

Note to gardeners: if you're thinking of visiting the Cafe, they are offering meal credits in exchange for lemons and limes.

We started off back down the hill at 1.35pm, and passed an echnidna trying to hide under a tree:

We probably got back to our starting point at about 2pm. A very pleasant outing.

September 2021 - Rocky Cape

Bob organised this long weekend away.

August 2021 Port Huon to Geeveston

Bob suggested that we try out this newly built walking and bike riding connection between Port Huon and Geeveston. It was a relatively warm Spring day and we had a good crowd: Philip, Kat, Di, Lyn, Bob, Angie, Summa, Wayne, Gerwyn, Sophie and Austin. We gathered in the carpark of the Port Huon Aquatic Centre (note - it's easy to to miss the entrance!). This is a short walk, only 6km return, of widely varying quality (there are a couple of delightful sections, a couple of basic roadside footpath sections, and a couple of risky highway crossings to keep you on your toes). It's a basically flat walk, following the bends of the Kermandie River. Here's the record of our walk:
This was the sign at the start of the walk:
The first section of new boardwalk over the saline sedgeland/rushland was delightful. The edges were still a bit trampled by the work crews, and it was not quite finished - it looked like some seats were still to arrive.
It was a peaceful, pretty spot.
All too soon we had to cross the busy highway, with vehicles hurtling along at 100km/h. Then there was a distinct lack of signage, but we followed our noses along a trail alongside the road, which then became a bright new footpath. The locals must be pleased to at last be provided with a safe path to walk on! It was good to see that one of them is enterprising enough to sell flowers to the flaneurs.
Soon the path moved away from the highway again (phew) and through some pleasant woodland, following the bends of the Kermandie River again.
This used to be a timber railway line, and some nice interpretive signs give some history.
A neat little bridge now spans the river and delivers walkers back to the highway on the outskirts of Geeveston.
We were surprised to find only a couple of shops open in the town - and we retraced our steps back to Port Huon. We reconvened at Frank's Cider House in Franklin and enjoyed some generous and yummy pies, toasties and soups! Hopefully this short path will soon be added to by a quality connection from Huonville to Port Huon, and we will be able to walk or ride this whole route, that would be great.

May 2021 - Narawntapu NP

Our autumn weekend getaway was a trip to Greens Beach, where we stayed in a large house and enjoyed several day walks along the weatherswept northern coast.

Lyn was our intrepid organiser for our group of 11, what a challenge. We were: Lyn, Philip, Kat, Di, Robert, Angie, Gerwyn, Wayne, Bob, Gary and Rachel. Five and a half bedrooms were created in a big beach house on Gardiners Rd (a big thankyou to Bob for sacrificing your privacy for two nights!).

We arrived at lunchtime on day 1 and worked off the travel stiffness with a walk eastwards along Greens Beach towards the top of the Tamar River. Great views across the river to Low Head and Georgetown.
When the pellet heater served up only error messages, we all had suggestions :). Lyn called for assistance from an actual expert, and the team got hands'on. A tube had come unstuck, which we were able to fix. Success!
Our tradition of a barbecue on our first night away came up trumps, with Robert's salads, and Gaz and Bob managing the barbie.

Then followed delicious desserts! The fire pit was popular too.

On Day 2 our excellent location meant we could set off directly along the West Head Coastal Track, westwards towards Badger's Beach.
(the gang sans Kat, the photographer)

This was a very easy walk along sandy and leaf littered trails, and hugging the shoreline it was pretty flat too.
The weather was overcast and slightly drizzly, but there was plenty of shelter under the coastal bush.
Our only confusion was not recognising when we had commenced the loop around the headland, but it would be hard to get very lost here!
We were ready for lunch by the time we arrived at the West Head lookout over Badger's Beach. After a short break here to admire the view we dropped down a gully to reach the beach. Some of us returned to base at that stage, others went on further to explore the beach.
Dinner for Day 2 was roast chicken and a pile of roast vegies, creatively brought together in the small kitchen and the barbie by Kat and Lyn and helpers. Another feast! We enjoyed some debates and shared a few tips for ageing knees and other body parts. Then showed we can still dance to some golden oldies, with Robert fielding the requests :).

On Day 3 we loaded into vehicles for the short drive to Baker's Beach. With beautiful weather we headed off along the pretty beachside trail, stopping in en route at the bird hide on the lagoon.
It was a little climb to the top of Archer's Knob, but well worth it for the views.
Back down again, we headed for Baker's Beach.
Time for lunch, and it was such a serene spot to sit, with enormous views of the sky and Bass Strait.
We headed back along the beach, with a rainstorm threatening. In such a vast environment, somehow closer conversations were easier.
All the elements were experienced today! It was jackets off, jackets on, jackets off...
The signage to the exit paths from the beach was the best we've ever seen.
The Bennetts Wallabies and Rufous Wallabies were very tame here.

Some of us stopped in to have a look at the historic location of the original York Town settlement on the way back. There's not much to see any more, but it served as a reminder of the rise and fall of civilisations!

Back at base, Kat and Lyn put together a nice dinner of revitalised leftovers, and we settled in for a kiwi movie night - both directed by Taika Waititi, classics (The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and JoJo Rabbit).

Day 4 was for packing up and making our various ways home. It was a great weekend getaway with good friends. Thanks all!